An emotional remark by Speaker K G Bopaiah while opposing the heritage tag to Western Ghats has stirred up a controversy as he virtually raked up a separate statehood demand for his home district Kodagu.
Replying to queries on United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation move to declare 10 spots in the Western Ghats as heritage spots, including some in Kodagu district which passes through these ghats, Bopaiah opined that such a tag did not help either the place or its people but only some none-governmental organisations.
"People of Kodagu know how to protect the forests. Nobody needs to teach them.", Bopaiah said. Asked to outline the reasons for his opposition, he said "everyone opposes it. We know better how to manage the forest. Let Kodagu be given separately, we will manage everything".
Bopaiah's remark came in for sharp criticism from Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee President G Parameshwara who demanded an apology from him and alleged it was an attempt to 'divide' the unified state.
Parameshwara said his party would debate the issue on the floor of the assembly in the ongoing session.